Rockets avoid Thunder sweep
by Yannis Koutroupis, USA TODAY Sports
HOUSTON — With his Houston Rockets facing elimination, Chandler Parsons flirted with a triple-double to stun Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Durant scored 38 overall, but the Rockets weren’t going to be beaten by him again as they were last game. They forced the ball out of his hands out of the final possession and caught a break when Serge Ibaka’s tip in at the buzzer came up a little bit short. That left it 105-103, the Rockets cutting their series deficit to 3-1 in Game 4.
The Rockets came out with the sense of urgency you would expect a team that was playing with their season on the line to have. They established a 13-4 lead four minutes in, but Durant used that as a cue to get aggressive. After setting up DeAndre Liggins for a triple, Durant went on to score eight straight and tie the game at 16.
That’s where Durant’s early flurry would end, tough, as the Rockets regained control and went into the second quarter with a 24-29 advantage.
Harden’s struggles weren’t too big of a concern in the opening period because the team — especially Parsons, who had 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and Carlos Delfino — was hot from three. They became an issue when they carried over into the second quarter. As Harden was stuck on one field goal, Durant continued his assault on the Rockets defense and Kevin Martin hit his stride.
Martin, the Thunder’s clear cut second option behind Durant now with Westbrook out, scored 14 in the first half. His triple with 1:13 remaining in the half put the Thunder up 13, their biggest lead of the game.
With potentially 25 minutes left in their season, the Rockets outscored the Thunder 8-2 in the final minute to get within seven at halftime.
The momentum would completely shift over to Houston’s side in the third quarter. After having one made field goals to seven turnovers in the first half, Harden would score nine in the third. Parsons paced them early on in the quarter, scoring six in a 13-0 … [For more on Chandler Parsons helps Rockets avoid Thunder sweep, click here.]